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A-Team in Vietnam

The A-Team served in Vietnam. The country was divided in the '60s, into South Vietnam and North Vietnam. The North was under communist rule, and Ho Chi Minh wanted to unite the country. The Johnson administration sought to prevent this, sending in advisors, and finally, the first combat troops arrived in 1965, and continued to fight until the war was declared over in January 1973 (for the US troops anyway...). South Vietnam surrended in 1975, uniting Vietnam. For more information on the war, check out the timeline at PBS.

Here are some of the big players in the Team's time in Vietnam, as well as a few notes about things they mentioned about the war and the people they served with.



Colonel Samuel Morrison


  • He gave the orders for the Team to rob the Bank of Hanoi to help bring the war to an end

  • The team did so, but that night, Colonel Morrison was killed, which was supposedly January 27 1971 (according to the episode Dishpan Man), during the Tet new year.

  • In Sound of Thunder, Hannibal says that Morrison was killed in Phnom Penh (Cambodia). I suspect it was a writer's error.

  • He was shown only in flashbacks in Season 5's trial episodes

  • He was proven to be a double agent, who gave the Viet Cong information for money.

  • A Viet Cong Colonel named Quyet testified at a US hearing that Morrison was a double agent.

  • His aide was Captain Josh Curtis, who was presumed dead in the same shelling that killed Morrison.



The A-Team's Crime and Trial

Crime and First Trial


  • The Team was accused of robbing the Bank of Hanoi of 10 million piasters (1 million dollars) on January 27 1971. The mission was supposed to help end the war by cutting off the money supply to the Viet Cong.

  • Four days after the war ended they wandered out of the DMZ with the money according to the pilot. The problem with this is that the war didn't end for the American's until 1973, and as we know, the Team was imprisoned in 1972.

  • The Team's orders were destroyed when the headquarters where their CO (Morrison) was was bombed in an artillery barrage that same night.

  • The Team was "sent to prison for a crime they didn't commit". BA states that they had a trial in the 1st season episode Nice Place to Visit (he said Ray stuck by them during the trial), but the pilot Mexican Slayride says they escaped before their trial from Fort Bragg. Since they are tried in 1986 for the same crime, we have to assume they didn't have a trial in 1972, as you can't be tried twice for the same crime. The only other explanation is that they escaped during the 1972 trial.

  • A trial is usually held where the crime occured. Seeing that it was a warzone, it is reasonable that their trial be held where their unit was usually stationed, which was Fort Bragg, NC.

  • There was never any explanation of how the Team escaped from Fort Bragg. Colonel Lynch was in charge of the prison there.

  • There was not much explanation of what the Team did after that, although the pilot discusses rumours about them doing the soldier of fortune thing - but there's no real date of when they began to help people, or even if they were together after their escape. The newspapers (Zach tells Amy) didn't even seem sure they existed.

  • Murdock was in Vietnam in 1972 still, since he worked a mission for the CIA. So his discharge to the VA must have come after that, either sometime in 1972 or afterwards.



1986 Capture


  • The Team is captured by Stockwell's men and put on trial in 1986. Previous to this, they had found Captain Josh Curtis, Morrison's aide who had presumably died in the same shelling, but alive, and working as a gun smuggler. He remembered them and said he'd testify that the Team had orders to rob the bank.

  • Stockwell showed up and Curtis implicated the Team, because he hadn't wanted to be turned over to Stockwell.

  • Stockwell has a video which shows their FBI file numbers as #451-5683 (and -1, -2 and -3 for Hanibal, Face and BA) and their Army JAG Code is 19A-51R and the file is A-557-9913 (Hannibal), A-557-9914 (Face) and A-556-9915 (BA). Their were charged under the UCMJ for Article 104 (Treason) and Article 122 (Robbery).

  • It lists the team as going AWOL January 21 1971



1986 Trial, Execution and Escape


  • They are held at Barrier Island, 30 miles off the California coast. Visitors have to be announced from Fort Owen.

  • Their lawyer was named Benny Conway and Frankie hired him.

  • They were accused of robbing the bank, treason, and desertion, and finally murder when it was revealed that Morrison was shot twice before the building was shelled. Since they were on trial for the bank job, this lends credence to them NOT having a trial in 1972, as they shouldn't have been tried for the same crime twice - unless they escaped during the trial.

  • Colonel Decker testifies against the Team.

  • The prosecution shows the orders for the mission, lost for all these years, and says they are a forgery, done by Face. Hannibal tells the lawyer that the orders were signed by Morrison in front of him.

  • Morrison is exhumed from Arlington and it is discovered he was shot twice in the back of the head before the shelling. (Why they never caught this before is a mystery)

  • Captain Curtis testifies (and lies) that he heard Hannibal arguing with Morrison before the mission and right before the shelling began he saw a figure run from the building, which he said was Hannibal (who was really in Hanoi at the time so this testimony is a lie)

  • It is revealed that a former Vietnamese Colonel living in the US, named Quyet, had testified at a congressional hearing that Morrison had been an agent for the Viet Cong during the war.

  • Captain Curtis is killed by a hit and run driver during the trial, after giving his testimony against the Team, and before the Team's lawyer can recall him.

  • The prosecution called Murdock up and was aiming to break Murdock down on the stand and indict him as a co-conspirator in the bank job.

  • Murdock instead went "crazy" on the stand and his testimony was useless.

  • It was revealed that Murdock was back at the headquarters after dropping the Team in Hanoi and was likely the last to see Morrison alive.

  • The Team thought the prosecutors would point the finger at Murdock as the killer, as he was the last to see Morrison alive. On the stand Murdock says he was at the headquarters right before Morrison was killed, and the Team didn't know that.

  • The Team pleads guilty half way through the trial, to take the heat off Murdock. The Team seems to wonder if Murdock did kill Morrison upon finding out he was a VC agent.

  • Murdock tracks down Quyet, who admits to Murdock that the bank job was supposed to be a set up. The Team was supposed to get caught and it was to be an embarassment to the US government, but they couldn't get word to the Viet Cong in time to stop the Team.

  • Murdock brings Quyet to testify, but he lies on the stand, saying the A-Team found out about Morrison working for the VC, and they killed him because of it.

  • They are sentenced to death by firing squad on August 18 1986. This is wildly inaccurate - the US military since 1984 has used lethal injection as the method of capital punishment. Previous to this hanging was the official method. Only two states "offer" firing squad as a method of capital punishment - Utah and Idaho. The Team was held and tried in California.

  • Murdock sneaks in as as priest, is found out, and Frankie replaces him as the "real" priest, slipping the Team drugs to slow their heart rates and blood packets to simulate blood during the shooting.

  • Frankie switches the bullets for blanks.

  • The firing squad was led by Captain Underwood.

  • The Team is "shot", appears dead and are taken off the island by boat, in body bags. They wake up with Stockwell, Murdock and Frankie there.

  • The Team was to have been buried at Forest Lawn cemetery.

  • Stockwell says that the military will know the Team survived and escaped because the bodies will be missing from the morgue. (Yet the military never came after the Team in season 5, so Stockwell must've had something to do with that!)



Some of their Vietnam-era associates included:


  • Ray Brenner - He was 5th Special Forces Major according to his uniform. Hannibal remembered when he came out of Special Forces training, so he may have been with the Team for quite awhile. Based on the fact he was a major when he died (in the 80's), he was probably a 2nd LT with the Team, most likely below Face. He appears to have a couple less unit ribbons than Face, but he has 13 medals, including a Congressional Medal of Honor. Ray never appeared on screen, as he died previous to the episodeI. His widow is named Trish and was pregnant with their first child when he was killed by local brothers who ran a service station. The Team attends his funeral. He once gave Face his helmet during a battle when Face lost his, and helped BA when he was shot in Vietnam. See the tag for "friends" for more info on Ray.

  • General Ludlum - He was their CO during certain missions in Vietnam (according to One More Time). He threw BA in the brig after BA punched him in the nose for calling him a liar about not saluting him. The General said this occured March 15 1971 - in which case BA would've already been in jail since the bank job happened in January of that year. The team rescued the General and his daughter from Borneo.

  • Reverend Taylor - Vietnam paratrooper, they helped him in Pure-Dee Poison. Hannibal remarks that Face knew the Reverend. BA took a liking to his daughter.

  • Captain Fallone - He retired to work as a doctor on a small island kingdom. The Team saved him and the villagers from bad guys who were creating drugs in a lab on the island. He saved BA's life when he was in Vietnam.

  • Sam Yeng - owns the Golden Pagoda restaurant in Chinatown in Los Angeles, he let the A-Team hide in the basement of his house in Saigon while mortars and shells were shot at them. He has a daughter named Sun.

  • Hulk Hogan - served with BA in Da Nang, they were both injured in a shelling, and continue to argue over who saved who. He appeared in two episodes.

  • Lin Chao - She ran the letters booth at Face's tennis club in Vietnam. Daughter of General Chao. Face never touched her lol.

  • Lin Duk Coo - He was the cook at their POW camp. He used to smuggle food to the American POW's and helped them escape. General Chao sent him to Los Angeles, and after the A-Team helped him, he stayed in the country.

  • Agent Cheney - CIA agent that recruited Murdock for his 2 CIA missions

  • Dimitri Shastovich - A Russian, captured during the bank heist by the A-Team, they claimed he jumped down a cliff and got away. He hired them in season 4.



Some of their Vietnam-era enemies included:


  • General Chao - Known as the Red Butcher, he hated Face for presumably hitting on his daughter and tried to capture and kill him. Two General Chao's appeared in the show - one in Recipe for Heavy Bread, he ran the POW camp the Team was at, and another in Mind Games, who was the Red Butcher and who's daughter worked at Face's club. They were different people. It's spelled "Chow" at the Internet Movie Database.

  • Captain Josh Curtis - Colonel Morrison's top aide for 2 years, survived shelling, began smuggling guns, he claimed Hannibal argued with Morrison before he was killed. He was killed by a hit and run driver during the trial.

  • General Chung Van Quyet - was going to catch the team in the act of robbing Bank of Hanoi, but failed. He testified at a congressional hearing that Morrison worked for the VC. He lied during the trial and said Morrison feared the A-Team and that they weren't told to rob the bank.

  • Mikhail "Ivan the Terrible" Pedavich - butchered a village in the Mekong Delta in 'Nam, Shastovich wanted to stop him in season 4.



Vietnam Notes:


  • The Team nailed a Cong general outside Khe Sahn, Face was wounded in the leg, Murdock was shot down.

  • Hannibal and BA once did a two man patrol in Cambodia.

  • Captured a Cong Captain in the mountains, Pedavich was an advisor in his company.

  • The team served time in a Vietnamese POW camp, but no name was ever given. Hannibal did mention "General Chao's death camp" and Face said the camp was "50 clicks from Da Nang". (Which is silly because it would put that North Vietnamese prison camp squarely in SOUTH Vietnam!)

  • One episode states they got involved in a fight in the barracks at Cam Ranh Bay.

  • They certainly got around Vietnam, having mentioned being in Cam Ranh Bay, Saigon, Hanoi, Khe Sahn, Da Nang, Pleiku, Hue and various other places.

  • The real US 5th Special Forces base was in Nha Trang and they deployed in 4 regions of South Vietnam (I, II, III, IV Corps areas of Vietnam, below the DMZ). They have 20 campaign streamers and received the Presidential Unit Citation, Vietnam Meritorious Unit Commendation, Vietnam Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Republic of Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal 1st class.

  • A-Team's (and B, C and D teams) were made up of a Captain, Executive Officer (usually a lieutenant or warrant officer), and 12 sergeants with various specialties. One of the A-Teams was scuba certified, another paratroopers. The rest specialized in other areas. For this reason, I suspect the TV A-Team was a specially created group in Vietnam for specific missions, not traditional A-teams.



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Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
shadowwalker213
May. 2nd, 2007 09:29 pm (UTC)
re: 50 clicks from Da Nang
Doing some research for a story I'm working on - actually, being in a POW camp 50 clicks from Da Nang is entirely feasible. There were several "roving" POW camps in South Vietnam, and a couple were fairly stationary - one being "ST18", which was located just south of Tam Ky (which is between 40-50 miles south of Da Nang). POWs could spend their entire imprisonment in South Vietnam, or they could be shifted around until finally being sent to North Vietnam. There were also POW camps in Laos and Cambodia.
ateamcanon
May. 2nd, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
Re: 50 clicks from Da Nang
Oh, thanks for the great info!
sss979
Sep. 17th, 2009 07:25 pm (UTC)
Ray Brenner - "he was probably a 2nd LT with the Team"

Actually, according to John L. Plaster, who served with 5th SF and wrote several (REALLY good) books on SOG in Vietnam, Special Forces did not have a 2nd Lt. It was 1st Lt right out of OCS.
sss979
Sep. 17th, 2009 07:37 pm (UTC)
Heh. Sorry. One other thing.

"I suspect the TV A-Team was a specially created group in Vietnam for specific missions, not traditional A-teams."

Look up SOG (Special Operations Group) for more information on what the TV A-team was/did. It fits with everything we know about them (how they got around so much, operated in Cambodia, were sent on missions that weren't verifiable - ie Hanoi). They still would've had to have been a SPECIAL special SOG group to have their own pilot and work for different generals/colonels the way they did, but it's definitely closer to what they actually were/did. They certainly weren't an "A-Team" proper. SOG units were typically designated by name (RT Asp, RT Cobra, RT Hatchet) that told where they were from, but they could very well have had "A" designations (ie A-5223, A-5832). They would have been 4 digit numbers and started with 5, since they were all 5th SF. I've done a TON of research on SOG, since I'm writing several books about the team in Vietnam. If you'd like, I can compile some of it and post it here.

-Fig
puddle_of_light
Jun. 28th, 2010 11:54 am (UTC)
Captain Curtis testifies (and lies) that he heard Hannibal arguing with Morrison before the mission and right before the shelling began he saw a figure run from the building, which he said was Hannibal (who was really in Hanoi at the time so this testimony is a lie)

Not nessicarily. We see Curtis' testimony as a flashback, which suggests it DID happen, with Curtis mistaking Murdock for Hannibal.


johnnypenn
Jun. 29th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
This is a great post.
I'm trying to do a fill at the A-Team Kinkememe about the team getting together and stuff. This helps me with the time line.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )